Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writing Wednesdays: Meeting Deadlines

When I first started out on this writing adventure, I was 23. Nine years later, and with five completed manuscripts under my belt, I remain an unpublished novelist. But the amount I've learned in those nine years is immeasurable. Once upon a time it was my goal to be published by my 30th birthday. Now, two years past deadline, I've given myself a little bit of a break and pushed it back to 35. And since technically I'm only turning eight years old today (thank you, Leap Day!), I'm actually doing pretty well for myself.

What about you? Do you have any self-imposed deadlines you're trying to meet? Maybe you want to finish another novel this year, get an agent, or even start your first book. I know creating deadlines isn't necessarily helpful (or healthy), but I love that feeling of fulfilling a goal. Maybe that's why I make a good journalist - I've never met a deadline I couldn't...meet.

Happy Leap Day!

I'm allowing myself a short post today so I can sit on the couch and watch TV during nap time (after I work out, of course; happy birthday to me!). And happy birthday to my beautiful, brilliant, unstoppable sister, and to my compassionate, dedicated, hilarious brother. I love you both and I wish we could be together on this special day. Maybe for our ninth birthday? Let's make it a goal!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mommy Mondays: What Does It All Mean?

If this weekend's trip to Norfolk (where we were visiting our friends Dave and Meredith and their son Soren) taught me anything, it's this: trying to understand your toddler is about as useful as tits on a bull (or "socks on a baby," as John used to say). I am currently writing this post during what was supposed to be nap time. However, since Jack woke up screaming about chickens, I am forced to squeeze my blogging in while "Finding Nemo" does the babysitting.

Funny, he seemed so enthusiastic about the chickens this morning...
At any rate, Jack's behavior has been consistently inconsistent of late. He was actually really good this weekend, leading me to believe that Jack (and I) may have just needed a change of scenery. That, or I should have left Jack in Norfolk with my friends. Unfortunately, they were too busy trying to offload their toddler on us that they mistook my offer for jest. Shame.

Jack's interactions with other children are particularly puzzling. Despite the fact that he seems to have no trouble with the kids at school, his one-on-one skills definitely leave something to be desired. Several times I have watched him shove someone while shouting, "No pushing!" (Clearly we need to go over that one a few more times.) And while Jack and Soren hardly expressed interest in wanting to play this weekend, they jabbered about each other happily when they weren't together.

"This dolphin ain't big enough for the both of us..."

Jack's relationship with his on-again, off-again girlfriend Anneliese is the hardest to watch. There was a time when those two were inseparable. They could be found holding hands without coercion or bribery. Courtney and I delighted in unprompted kisses that we never could manage to capture on film. They were like peas and carrots. You may recall their trip to Mt. Vernon last fall...

The warm, pink glow of happier times.
And here is a recent image from their playdate during Flag Day.

The bloom is off the rose as far as one of these two is concerned...
Of course, when I asked Jack who his best friend was the other day, he said "Anneliese" without hesitation. I'm praying Jack isn't going to be one of those guys who treats girls like dirt just to see if they'll keep crawling back. Then again, what girl doesn't love a bad boy?


This week, I'm making it my goal to stop questioning Jack's schizophrenic behavior and try to just roll with it. After all, we're talking about a person who closes his eyes and actually believes he's invisible. Why ask why?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Things I Love Thursdays: Pastel Hair

John recently switched his Financial Times subscription (which is ridonkulously expensive) over to The New York Times. I was excited at first - a weekly book review, all for me! But it turns out the Book Review, along with the rest of the paper, is kind of pretentious (not that The Financial Times wasn't - but it's British, and pink, so it's allowed to be pretentious). I love it when they have a children's book section, but that doesn't happen nearly often enough, and god forbid they review something semi commercial; most of the reviews are so damn scholarly that I can't even tell what the book is about. It's not a dissertation people, it's a book review! Gah!

Anyway, The New York Times Style Magazine, while still kind of pretentious, occasionally has some cool stuff in it. Like this week's feature on pastel hair. The photos by Richard Burbridge are to-die-for gorgeous. These are photos I took of the magazine itself, so please forgive the lousy quality, but don't you want lavender hair RIGHT NOW?



 No? Perhaps you're more of a blue gal, like myself?


And of course there's always pink:


Love, love love! It's like something out of Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette." Which makes this adorable vase from Anthropologie just the thing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Writing Wednesdays: Knowing Your Audience

A few weeks ago, one of my sisters sent me her WIP, a fantasy novel for 7-10-year-olds. It's a wonderful story with a unique character based on French folklore. I always knew my sister was a great writer, but it's so much fun to get a glimpse into her imagination. Even though I obviously world-build in my novels, I'm still amazed when people manage to transport me into their own imaginary world through their writing.

Unfortunately, aside from telling my sister that I genuinely enjoyed reading her novel, I don't know anything about her audience, so it's hard for me to offer any practical advice. She has two kids in her target age group, so she probably has a much better idea of what's out there than I do. But like all writers, my sister will need to know her audience well before she begins querying, or risk getting rejections simply based on the subject matter, not the quality of her writing.

Admittedly, I didn't do a lot of research into the current YA market when I started writing Friday. I had read the major books like Twilight and The Hunger Games, and I watch many of the shows that are adaptations of YA novels (The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl), but there's a whole world of Young Adult fiction out there I knew nothing about (thank you times a million to my blogging buddies, who have taught me so much in the last six months). I like to think of myself as with-it enough to know what teenagers are like these days, but in truth, I'm twice as old as my protagonist. My babysitter still insists on calling me Mrs. R, and when I asked her if she'd be interested in reading my WIP (so I could get a teenager's opinion) she told me that she mainly reads historical fiction. Target audience, indeed.



The thing is, as much as we may be writing fiction for young adults, or kids, or women in their thirties, none of that matters if we can't get past the gate-keepers (aka agents). We are writing for them more than anyone, based on the books they represent and the kinds of characters they seem drawn to. We trust that they know our target audience, even though they themselves are not young adults or kids (a great number of them are women in their thirties, however; you'd think that would make writing women's fiction a snap, but I'm living proof that just because you ARE the target audience, it doesn't mean people will love your book).

I'm curious how many of my YA-writing friends out there have gotten the opinion of actual teenagers. Agents won't be impressed if you tell them, "My 16-year-old niece LOVED my book!" but I'm sure having a teenager tell me my that no one uses the term "going out" anymore would be genuinely helpful.

Then again, knowing what I was like as a teenager, I may not be ready for that kind of feedback after all.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mommy Mondays: The Parent-Teacher Conference, Part II

Some of you may recall that I was shocked to learn that parent-teacher conferences begin in preschool. Jack wasn't even two when he had his first one, and today I had my second meeting with Jack's wonderful teacher.

Fortunately, Jack seems to be doing quite well in terms of his physical skills. The checklist I was presented with this time was far more extensive than the little scrap of paper listing Jack's accomplishments and "things to work on" I received last time. You'll be happy to know he can now hold a crayon properly, and identify boys and girls. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to know that HE'S a boy. Whoops. There's always room for improvement, right?

Then we got to the page for Social and Emotional Development. I started to panic when I saw that there were a bunch of things highlighted in orange, including "display aggressive feelings and behaviors,"and "defend their possessions." Then Jack's teacher presented me with the news:

Apparently Jack hasn't been showing enough aggression.

In the words of Super Grover 2.0, "Hubba what?"

According to his teacher, Jack never yells, hits, or pushes. If someone takes a toy from him, he just walks away and finds something else. He's very mild mannered, keeping to himself at times or checking in for the occasional grape. His teacher has no concerns about him whatsoever. All is well in Jack Land.

He looks SO innocent, doesn't he?
I was floored. As I've said before, Jack has been a holy terror of late. He pushes his friend Anneliese when she gets too close. He throws fits when things don't go exactly his way (like today, for example, when he didn't want to walk to the park, but refused to ride in the backpack, but didn't want to go home; the only solution was to throw a tantrum, natch). He hits himself when he's angry. He screams like a banshee in public places. Most days, I feel like I'm at my wit's end. I started to have a panic attack today when I tried to picture his sidewalk tantrum in Russia, in winter, when my eyeballs have frozen and I can no longer feel my extremities. (The post report says that women shouldn't wear face cream during the winter because it can freeze on your face; that seemed a bit ridiculous, but do I really want to risk it?) Is Jack just being bad for my benefit? Maybe he thinks I'm bored and the occasional fit keeps things interesting. I don't know. I'm glad he's good at school, of course, but it makes me wonder if aliens don't beam down on Tuesdays and Thursdays to take over his body and then leave right when I show up...

Jack will most likely have another parent-teacher conference before the school year is over. I hope by then Jack's social skills have improved (at least when he's at home), that he's learned to stack rings in order by size, and maybe even picked up a few words in Russian. So far he can say "Russia," which I think is a good first step.

Oh, and by then, he may even know that he's a boy.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

On the Bright Side

For now, since I'm not really sure how this two-blog thing is going to work, I'll link to Most Eligible Family when I post there. So, here's installment two...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Things I Love Thursdays: Global Fashion

As a means of distracting myself, and in the spirit of Flag Day, here are a few items that would be totally fun to wear tomorrow (all courtesy of ModCloth). After all, if you're going to have your world turned upside down, why not do it in style?

Cartography Degree Dress by Nice Things

All-Encompassing Necklace
Traveling Translator Tote
A La Cartography Dress by Eva Franco

Time to Prioritize Tee by MNKR



Tourist de Force Bag

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Weekly Inspiration: Downton Abbey

I'm skipping my usual Writing Wednesday and bringing you a Weekly Inspiration instead, since Friday is Flag Day and I've just been dying to share my love affair with Downton Abbey.

I'd heard people mention the show a few times over the past month or two, but the name of the show doesn't exactly spark interest right away. Then John watched half of the first episode on his flight back from Italy and insisted we watch the whole first season on Netflix. I was a little surprised that my normally period-piece-hating husband wanted to watch a British series set in the early 1900s, but I certainly wasn't going to argue. There's just something wonderful about a bunch of snobby Brits living in a ginormous house along with a colorful cast of servants, ranging from the endearingly stupid Daisy, to the so-far irredeemably wicked O'Brien (she seems to be softening a bit in Season 2...).

Episode 3 was the one that really sucked me in. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, but suddenly this slow-in-a-Jane-Austen-kind-of-way show was rife with scandal beyond anything I could have anticipated. Plus there are an awful lot of hot guys running around Downton Abbey. Not that it's a reason to watch the show. I'm just sayin'...

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley. Love me a man in uniform!
And of course I'm a sucker for a beautiful English castle.

The manor house at Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle in Hampshire)

The women's clothing is also amazing. Hell, even if this show didn't have dialogue (and I'm glad it does - rather witty dialogue, at that), it's just fun to look at!

Ladies Edith, Sybil, and Mary


Jessica Brown-Findlay as Lady Sybil
Downton Abbey is also inspiring to me as a writer. There are so many great characters, and the show does a wonderful job of giving us little glimpses into their lives so that even the downstairs help come off as more than mere caricatures.

This weekend John went to the Apple store and bought us an attachment so we can download Season 2 episodes on his iPhone and watch them on our TV. That's how much we love Downton Abbey - share your love in the comments!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mommy Mondays: The Art of the Tantrum

About an hour ago, I decided to walk to the park with Jack. It's not even half a mile each way, I reasoned. The exercise will be good for him. In the immortal words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, "Big mistake. Big. Huge!"

Actually, the way there was fine. I even got Jack to hold my hand about half the time. But on the way back, Jack started to melt down. (I tend to forget that his legs are a lot shorter than mine.) First his body went limp and he fell to his knees. Then he started to scream. Then the tears started to fall. This was in the middle of the sidewalk on a fairly busy street. I had two options at that point: Leave him there, or carry him home. I got about three feet away from him before I turned around and picked him up. Unfortunately, 30 pounds of limp toddler is pretty freaking heavy. By the time I got home, I was nearly in tears myself. I was also sweating profusely, and my arms and legs were burning from the strain. I collapsed in a heap on the floor and considered flailing around like an overturned beetle, but I didn't have the strength.

Yesterday John and I went for a long walk. It was about 25 degrees outside and a vicious wind was blowing (the kind of wind that seems to be right in your face no matter which direction you're facing). Poor Jack was in the backpack, his little cheeks bright red within minutes. The lower half of my face went numb about three miles in, which was actually preferable to the pain. John attempted to cheer me up by reminding me that it was about 60 degrees colder in Russia, where we could very well be living this time next year. Thus began a conversation nearly as bitter as the cold.

John and I are very different in a lot of ways, and it's never more apparent than when we're in an argument. While I went on and on about all the possible negative scenarios in our future, John was his usual even-keeled self. Even the thought of living on a tiny island off the coast of West Africa couldn't break him. "It will be an adventure!" he responded to every what-if situation I presented him with. I admit that freaking out about the unknown doesn't make a lot of sense, but when John tried to make me promise not to freak out AFTER we find out where we're going, I went ahead and freaked out. It wasn't until this afternoon that I realized Jack and I are not so dissimilar in our way of dealing with things.

Okay, so I didn't drop to my knees or scream, but I can't say those didn't sound like appealing options at the time. Can I really blame a two-year-old, who has no sense of propriety and doesn't really have the tools to deal with anger in more productive ways, for freaking out? Sometimes we (meaning Jack and I) need to have a few minutes to scream and cry and get it out of our systems. And then, when it's over, what we really need is someone to hold us in their arms and tell us it's going to be okay. That's something I plan on reminding myself the next time Jack has a tantrum. And something I hope John will remember the next time I have a tantrum, too.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pitch Workshop - Please Give Me Your Feedback!

Hi all. I know it's Saturday and a lot of you probably aren't reading this, but I just participated in an awesome pitch workshop on Brenda Drake's blog, and I would love your feedback. If any of you have a few minutes to spare, hop on over and let me know what you think of my 35-word pitch and 250-word excerpt.

Happy weekend!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Foreign Service Fridays: We're Not All Crazy

A couple of weekends ago we went to the zoo with several other Foreign Service families from John's A-100 class. Last weekend, we had a family get-together with some of the other FSOs with kids. Tonight we're going to a happy hour with a bunch of John's other classmates. You know what I've discovered so far?

They're all normal.

Up until now, I was a little freaked out about what the other Foreign Service folks - wives, in particular - would be like. I've made some amazing military-wife friends over the years, but you do have to do some hunting to find kindred spirits (which I suppose is true in the real world, too...). But some of the Foreign Services wives I've met prior to this have been a little...testy. Like they all have some sort of chip on their shoulder, that they've been through this (generally one or two posts) and I don't have a clue what I'm in for. That may be true. In fact, I'm almost sure it is. But that doesn't mean people need to be snarky. For the record, I'm not talking about the genuinely wonderful wives I've become friends with recently (through other friends). I'm talking about random run-ins on the playground mostly. They left a bad taste in my mouth for what I might encounter at post. Fortunately, all of the ladies of the 165th A-100 class that I've met so far are awesome.

When we went to the zoo, I was expecting to be the odd man out (remind me to tell you some time about the fact that I literally am the odd man out, at least according to the Myers & Briggs personality test). I thought the other women would be way tougher than I am - the kinds of girls who don't wear makeup just to prove a point. Fortunately, they all seemed as terrified of this process as I am. I know that a lot of you think I'm either a) really brave and supportive or b) insane. It's nice to know that there are other people out there who, like me, are probably a little of both. Even speaking to some of the FSOs last weekend, I gleaned that they, too, are completely overwhelmed by this whole thing. I think we all know that while we have our definite preferences, we're entirely at the mercy of a higher power, and we could end up at any post on the list. And I think it's safe to say that if we end up at one of the Mexico border posts, we won't be the only ones freaking out.

One thing is for sure - one week from today, we'll all be in the same position, wondering where on earth the next two years are going to take us. Literally. (The term "where on earth" takes on a whole new meaning in the Foreign Service.) At the end of the day, it's easy to be supportive of your spouse when you believe in him unconditionally. And it's easy to be brave when you have no idea what you're getting yourself into.



But when you've just signed yourself up for the most ridiculous adventure of your life, I'm willing to bet that a little bit of crazy doesn't hurt, either.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Things I Love Thursdays: Kale Chips, and My Snuggie

This week I am presenting two things that I thought I'd hate and have come to love. First, kale chips. Sounds gross, I know. But some genius has figured out a way to make this "super food" taste absolutely scrumptious. There are other great brands out there, but I like Brad's Raw Leafy Kale because the packaging keeps the little chips from getting smashed.

Just trust me, okay?
My favorite flavor is Naked. John likes the spicy jalapeno flavor. Vampire Killer is great too, but make sure everyone around you is also partaking, or it won't just be vampires you keep at bay (in other words, best not consumed before a first date). These things are also a great way to get your kids to eat veggies. Jack loves them!

The proof is in the kale chips, my friends.
Item number two is my Snuggie. This is a wannabe Snuggie that someone gave us when Jack was born. It's taken me two years to break this thing out, but when our heater broke a couple of weeks ago, and I was forced to work in my already-cold basement sans heat, I found the Snuggie to be the perfect solution. All this time I thought it was just a blanket with sleeves, a backwards robe that some genius figured out a way to make money off of. Oh wait, it IS those things. But it's also brilliant! The other day I was working downstairs and I heard Jack making little snuggly noises behind me. Turns out he likes the Snuggie too.

The Snuggie - not just for grownups.
And there you have it, peeps. Two things I thought I'd hate have made it onto the list of things I love. What zany items will I surprise you with next week? You'll just have to wait and see!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Writing Wednesdays: Cliches - There For a Reason?

A long time ago, I sent the second novel I wrote to an agent I used to know. She gave me some okay feedback (mainly, my book was good, but it needed to be great - how many times have we heard that?), but she also told me that one of my characters was too much of a cliche.

This character was a snooty mother-in-law who carried Louis Vuitton luggage and harbored a certain amount of disdain for her daughter-in-law. Cliche? Sure. We've all seen that character before. She wasn't meant to be original. She was a minor character and a foil for my main character, the kind of character we see in movies and television all the time: the mean cheerleader, the dumb jock, the angry goth, the dirty politician. Of course, in books, you can't get away with nearly as much as you can on screen. A quote that might sound great coming from an actor's mouth might look pretty lame on paper. Or worse, unbelievable.

That's why I know I'll never be able to write the character who sat next to our table at dinner a month or so ago. And he was just so GOOD, I couldn't not share him with you.

This man and woman were clearly on a first or second date. They both looked to be in their early forties. She was a sort of aging hippy: long brown hair, no makeup, velvet dress; and he was equally unimpressive: plaid shirt over spare tire, sandy blond beard and mustache, bald spot, bad complexion. But from the moment we sat down, it was clear they were trying to impress each other with - or bond over - their food snobbery. They had ordered the fried burrata appetizer (burrata is a delicious Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream) and were both terribly unimpressed. The woman was complaining about the fact that it was too runny, and the man was encouraging her to speak to the waiter. Neither wanted to be difficult, of course, but this just wasn't right. So when the waiter came over she worked up the courage and told him what she thought, her pudgy companion nodding his agreement. The waiter apologized profusely (and who knows, maybe he comped them for it later), but after he was gone they just had to keep talking about how bad the burrata had been. Such a disappointment. For the record, John and I ordered the same appetizer, and it was admittedly a little runny. But still delicious. Not something I'd complain about at a busy restaurant in Arlington on a Friday night. At any rate, by the time their entrees arrived our neighbors had moved on to wine. This man couldn't have chosen a better topic to prove to his date just what a complete a-hole he was. They started discussing the best wine they'd ever had, and I tried my best to ignore their conversation. Unfortunately, I happened to tune in just when he uttered the most revolting thing imaginable:

"Ch√Ęteau d'Yquem is the most delicious thing I've ever tasted, including a woman's body parts."

Seriously. He said it. I nearly gagged on my gnocchi. I tell you, if I wrote this man in a book, no one would believe him. But that's the thing about cliches - they focus on one dimension of a character. And one-dimensional characters don't work in literature. Saddle the mean cheerleader with an eating disorder; give the angry goth an abusive father; make the dirty politician a closeted homosexual, and suddenly you've given your character enough depth to be believable.

Unfortunately for my wannabe foodie (and his date), I don't think there was a whole lot of back story there. I think sometimes a creep is just a creep. And a witchy mother-in-law is just a witch. And cliches almost always exist for a reason.

What do you think? Are cliches an immediate turn-off, or do they have their place in writing?



Monday, February 6, 2012

Mommy Mondays: Someone Like Jack

Last week Jack was featured in his preschool class's student spotlight. Now, you might think there can't be that much to say about a two-year-old who only goes to class eight hours a week. At least, I kind of wondered what on earth they were going to put up there. They hadn't asked me to bring in any pictures or favorite toys or anything, so I really had no idea what to expect. Then I saw it:


I realize it's a little hard to read, and no, those aren't the best photos of Jack ever. But it's still pretty amazing. The quote by Anatole France says "Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe." Apparently Jack likes to wander at school. And you gotta love the tag-line, "Yogurt! Yogurt!" That will make a great senior quote some day.

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a brief clip of Jack singing along to his current favorite, "Someone Like You," by Adele.

video



He does kind of leave a lasting impression, doesn't he?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Foreign Service Fridays: A New Blog

Hi all! John is away on an overnight A-100 retreat (which is apparently a lot of fun), so I don't have much to report in the way of FS news. Now that the list is in, there isn't much to do besides wait until the 17th and hope for the best.

But I did want to make an announcement! Starting on Flag Day (or shortly thereafter, depending on if I'm in the midst of a mental collapse or not), I will be introducing my new Foreign Service blog, "Most Eligible Family: the Foreign Service adventures of a runner, a writer, and a rugrat." I will link to it on Fridays, but I decided it would be best for people who are only interested in FS stuff to not have to wade through all my writing crap, and vice versa. Eventually all of the mommy-related stuff will probably end up on Most Eligible Family as well, since what it's like to be an eligible family member (EFM - basically a family member who meets the requirements of the FS) is a big part of what people are interested in when they're researching the Foreign Service. Scribble Babble will most likely go back to being my writing blog, and if I ever do get published, it will probably go away entirely. But that's a very big IF, so don't freak out or anything :)

Anyway, I hope you all will come by and check out my new bloggy when it's ready to go up. I'm still working on the design, but I think it's going to be a lot of fun. In the meantime, I hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Things I Love Thursdays: Catbird

Last night, Sarah, LNRB, and myself headed over to Chinatown to grab burritos and a movie. Our plan was to see "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." LNRB was a little nervous - she'd read the book and knew it was a tear jerker - but I was excited. We even got our tickets for $6.50 by spending $7.50 at Cal Tort (don't say I never told you anything useful). But then we got up to the ticket counter and the woman gave us the bad news: the movie had closed captions.

CC might not sound so bad at first. We watch our TV with captions all the time so that we can keep the volume low after Jack goes to bed. But movies are different. John and I made the mistake of seeing "The Hangover II" this way, and it sucked. Maybe it was just the movie, but it was a miserable experience. Every punch line appeared on screen before the actor had uttered the words. Plus, the lyrics to every single song were included in the captions. Needless to say, we decided to see a different film.

The only thing playing around the same time was "The Grey." In case you haven't heard of it, it's basically "Alive" but with wolves. Lots of wolves. Big, scary, evil wolves. (Because surviving a plane crash and braving the Siberian tundra isn't bad enough, apparently.) LNRB can be a bit jumpy at times, so I tried to warn her that it was going to be a thriller. "No, no," Sarah insisted. "It's just suspenseful. It will be fine."

"She screamed in 'Water for Elephants,'" I reminded Sarah, but LNRB felt up to the challenge. So in we went.

The next two hours were some of the most tortuous of my life. All I could think about was the fact that I could be living in Russia some time very soon. All Sarah could think about was the fact that LNRB was probably never going to speak to her again. And LNRB? Well, it was hard to tell what she was thinking, considering she'd tied her scarf around her face. I haven't screamed in a movie in a very long time, but I shrieked almost as loudly as LNRB last night.

It's hard to say if I got some of the worst sleep of my life last night because I'm sick, because I drank a gallon of Diet Coke at dinner, or because every time I closed my eyes all I could see were big, scary, man-eating CG wolves. Either way, Sarah found a little something that might keep the evil wolves at bay:

This gorgeous ring by Digby and Iona (via Catbird), is inscribed with the words Auribus teneo lupum; "To hold a wolf by the ear." I'd prefer to grab the tail, thank you, but there's something about a Latin inscription that makes me feel a little less afraid... Even if you're not in the market for anti-wolf amulets, Catbird has some fabulous jewelry and gifts you should definitely check out. After all, Valentine's Day is just around the corner...

Bow and arrow necklace by Love and Victory

For the book lover.
(Sarah got me one of these necklaces by The Black Spot Books, and I adore it!)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Writing Wednesdays: Judging a Book By Its Cover

Today I finally got my copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone in the mail! I'm so excited! I even ordered the real thing (as opposed to a copy on my Kindle) because I just know it's going to be too good not to lend to friends (or a certain sister who NEVER buys her own books...).

For those of you who haven't seen the gorgeous cover:


What you can't see are all the pretty blue feathers that float onto the back of the book. Love!

As an aspiring author, I can only imagine that seeing your book as an actual BOOK must be one of the best feelings ever. I know most authors have little or no say over their book cover, but I don't think that keeps any of us from mentally designing it anyway.

For How the Other Half Lives, I imagined a black and fuchsia silhouette of two girls, also known as Rubin's vase (pretty perfect for a novel about twins who swap places, right?):



For The Book Collector, I envisioned a winter scene of a girl standing outside a used bookstore with her greyhound, preferably painted by my favorite (and sadly deceased) artist, Ramon Dilley:

My fave piece of artwork; I snagged this artist's edition lithograph for $30.

For Forever Friday, I imagine a total eclipse on the cover, maybe with a scarab beetle overlaid on the moon (this would make sense if you'd read the book).





So, have you dreamed up the cover for your book? Please tell me all about it in the comments!